The implementation of medical cannabis laws in many states of the USA resulted in an immediate reduction in traffic fatalities in young and middle-aged drivers. This is the result of an analysis using data from the 1985-2014 US Fatality Analysis Reporting System by researchers of the University of Columbia in New York, the University of California at Davis, and the Boston University School of Public Health, USA.
On average, states with medical cannabis laws had 26% lower traffic fatality rates than states without such laws. Medical cannabis laws were associated with immediate reductions in traffic fatalities in those aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 44 years, and with additional yearly gradual reductions in those aged 25 to 44 years. However, state-specific results showed that only 7 states experienced reductions after implementation of these laws. Dispensaries for cannabis were also associated with traffic fatality reductions in those aged 25 to 44 years. Researchers concluded that both medical cannabis laws and dispensaries “were associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, especially among those aged 25 to 44 years. State-specific analysis showed heterogeneity of the [medical cannabis laws]-traffic fatalities association, suggesting moderation by other local factors. These findings could influence policy decisions on the enactment or repealing of [medical cannabis laws] and how they are implemented.”